The planned £6.8 billion takeover of Asda by the Issa brothers and private equity firm TDR Capital is the subject of a probe by the UK’s competition watchdog (CMA), after the European Commission referred the deal to the UK. The CMA will now look at whether the takeover will lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the UK.
The CMA now has until February 18 to reach a decision on the first stage of its investigation and has set a deadline of December 22 for interested parties to comment.
The deal is not expected to encounter the same competition issues that blocked Sainsbury’s proposed merger with Asda, which was blocked by the CMA last year. However, it is thought the CMA may demand the Issa brothers offload some of their EG sites, having cited reduced competition in fuel retailing among its concerns when it vetoed the Sainsbury’s tie-up.